During the sixth hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal by Congress on Monday, the question on why the network did not pursue its franchise application when former president Noynoy Aquino was still in office was raised.
Rep. Michael Defensor first brought the question up.
ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak responded saying that the 16th Congress did not act on the franchise application and only held one hearing on the matter.
Kris Aquino, who is the younger sister of the former president, was under contract with ABS-CBN at the time which Defensor acknowledged. It was also questioned whether the network had any problems with the former president or any official.
ABS-CBN Chair Mark Lopez said, “I cannot cite any specific issue at that point with President Aquino na kaya hindi natuloy noon.”
ABS-CBN revealed that they never approached Noynoy or Kris in 2014 regarding its franchise renewal.
“Parang kayo ata ang may kasalanan bakit hindi kayo na-renew noong 2014-2016. Hindi po kayo nakipag-usap sa mga dapat kausapin.
“Kapag kami po ba ay magdesisyon na wag kayo bigyan ng prangkisa, titingnan niyo po ba itong isang pang-aabuso ng gobyerno o katulad ng diktadurang Marcos na tinake over kayo?” Defensor said.
“The prerogative to grant or deny a franchise rests solely with Congress. And while we’re here to try and prove to the committee that there’s a good reason why our franchise should be renewed, at the end of the day, we respect the rule of law,” Katigbak said in response to Defensor.
The House panel then suspended hearing on the network’s franchise renewal bills until 1 p.m. on June 17.
Teddy Locsin Jr has previously alleged that former President Aquino, just like the President Duterte, did not want ABS-CBN to have a new franchise.
Oddly PNoy too indicated he would not renew ABSCBN’s franchise; only Joma Sison wants to renew it but will he do it when he is president? Ok. Back to my spiritual retreat.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) January 1, 2020
House allies of Aquino said that ABS-CBN’s franchise application was stalled because of competition and opposition from other cable operators.
They added that another reason was that ABS-CBN was so critical of Aquino, especially Ted Failon and Noli De Castro. Speculations of Aquino wanting to have both anchors removed from the network were also spread.
Aquino has slammed De Castro many times for his harsh criticisms and was even criticized for even paying attention to a news anchor.
Kris, on the other hand, was recently asked by a netizen why the franchise wasn’t renewed during her brother’s administration.
Kris responded saying that she wasn’t a member of the NTC and “haven’t been a contract star of ABS-CBN since the end of January 2016, more than four years have passed.
“If my answer didn’t satisfy you, I suggest i-tweet mo or post mo sa FB yung tanong mo sa KAPATID ko, himself. After all, hindi niya ako spokesperson.”
Noynoy also said that the government created an “unnecessary problem” when the network was ordered to shut down.